Denver architect Peter Dominick suffered a fatal heart attack on New Year's Day while he was cross-country skiing near Aspen, where he frequently vacationed. A prominent figure in the local architectural community, he was from an equally prominent family: his late father was a Colorado senator, also named Peter Dominick, who served from 1963 to 1975.
Growing up in Colorado, the younger Dominick became interested in architecture early on. He received his undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale University in 1963 and his masters in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. In the early 1970s, he established his practice here in Denver.
Dominick was an important early player in the reinvigoration of LoDo, and his Cactus Club at 1621 Blake Street, completed in 1990, is a prime example of a neo-traditional building designed in response to the existing historic structures around it. This sensibility would really catch on with other architects working in the neighborhood a decade later, but by then Dominick himself had moved on to post-modernism and neo-modernism.
At the time of his death, Dominick was the principal of the 4240 architectural firm. While still known as the Urban Design Group, the firm began work on Riverfront Park in the Platte Valley (shown above). The main composition of the complex is comprised of three mid-rise, post-modern-style residential buildings. The red-brick and concrete buildings, one of which sports a clock tower, have been intelligently arrayed around a handsome plaza at the western base of the Millennium Bridge.
As revealed by Riverfront Park, Dominick's firm was drawn to large-scale projects. One of the most notable was a gigantic, over-the-top fantasy Disney's Wilderness Lodge in Orlando, Florida, a somewhat whimsical salute to Yellowstone Lodge. Closer to home and more down-to-earth is the East 29th Avenue Town Center at Stapleton, for which UDG/4240 produced a spectacular site plan. It's interesting that for this project, Dominick eschewed the prevailing traditionalism associated with New Urbanist developments like Stapleton and instead produced a stunning suite of neo-modernist buildings in brick, glass and aluminum.
Dominick was also well-known in the art world, and was a major collector and donor who was on the board of directors of the Denver Art Museum. His wife, Philae, continues to serve in a similar capacity on the Museum of Contemporary Art's board of trustees.
Funeral plans for Dominick are pending.--Michael Paglia
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